Today at Charlotte Parent, where I’ll be blogging under our Stay-At-Home Dudes column name, I’m worrying about something. I’m always worrying about something, but this time. . . This time I’m worrying about worrying.
See, parents are of two minds about how they look at the future.
When we look at our little dudes and little dudettes, we’re all about the positive, optimistic vision of where they’ll go and what they’ll do. Then the darkness comes over us and we see all the bad things that can happen.
Parents are optimistic by nature, but it’s our job to be a professional pessimist. Which can lead to some. . . interesting situations.
On the day the little dude figures out just what — exactly — the wriggly things on the ends of his hands are for, it marks a major turning point in his relationship with his parents.
Whereas, before the epiphany, mom, dad and little dudette were living in a state of blissful harmony, marked by glances full of love and adoration, it’s a whole different ball of goop after.
Before, you could put the little dude in a high chair next to a table and
have him sit there blissfully playing with whatever happened to be in front of him. Which let Mom and Dad eat relatively leisurely and without much incident.
And then the little dudette gains the smallest extra bit of self awareness and realizes that she can cause change in the environment around herself. And she can do it with her hands because they — holds up hands in front of wide eyes and wriggles fingers back and forth like a stoner realizing for the first that the four fingers are like a highway and the thumb is a little off ramp and whoa! Dude! doesn’t that just blow your mind? — allow her to grabstuff.
Even better, those two hands and ten fingers allow her to grab stuff and then throw it anywhere. Or knock stuff over. Or, best of all, grab stuff, use that stuff to throw and knock over more stuff and watch Mommy and Daddy freak out, jump up and start talking funny and blotting at their clothing with napkins.
And here’s the thing. Even when new parents accustom themselves to the idea that their little dude can now grab stuff, it still takes a while before the really understand that he can lean farther than they think and knock over stuff a really big distance away.
It happened to me. When Sarcasmo was a young ‘un, maybe a year or so, his grandmother, Kaki (who was my mom) went away for a week or so. This was during the time he discovered the wriggly things and grabbing stuff.
Kaki asked to hold Sarcasmo while we were out to eat for a friendly lunch at a Gainesville diner. I warned her about his newfound propensity for grabbing stuff. She glared at me, silently reassuring me that she managed to raise me and my sister and she knew what she was doing thank you very much you young know-it-all. Mom had very expressive eyes.
What Kaki had forgotten was that reflexes, if not used, will sometimes decay. She stood Sarcasmo up in her lap, facing the table, and having fun.
He managed to get a salt shaker and mostly full glass of Diet Coke before I could get him free from Kaki’s lap and into his car seat, which we were using as a high chair. Kaki insisted on having Sarcasmo sit next to her.
He managed to get the refilled Diet Coke and a very mean look from the waitress who had to clean it up. Again.
Even experienced parents can misjudge the reach of a newly grabby little dude. Much less those new parents who have no experience to fall back on in their panic.
And this is before we bring in poisons and cleaning supplies and the like into the equation.
All is not lost, though.
To combat a little dude’s propensity for grabbing stuff, you only need to remove from his immediately surrounding environment anything that you could grab with your arms. And lock up all cabinets with the most parent-annoying security system imaginable, and then use them.
Footnotes & Errata
* That was a lie. There are a lot of worries. It’s not until you get to your third or so kid that you stop worrying and begin to think you know it all. Of course, that’s when everyone around you begins to panic because they just don’t understand that a toddler juggling razor-sharp knives while riding a kiddie unicycle is just little dudes being little dudes.
This is one of those strange sorts of days here at Casa de Dude. By strange, I mean we’re having someone other than Barry or me step in and talk for a bit.
In this case, please welcome Shawn Anderson, author and speaker. Miss-ter Ann-der-son (heh heh heh) sent out an e-mail I quite enjoyed. Instead of adapting it for you dudes, I thought I’d just let the man himself do the talking since I liked what he had to say.
So, take it away, Shawn Anderson.
Wake-up alarm sounds. Hit snooze button. Steal ten minutes more sleep. Groan. Get coffee. Wake kids. Take shower. Get dressed. Yell at kids. Drive to work. Slump into chair. Check email. Check Facebook. Meet deadlines. Waste time chatting. Watch clock. Check Facebook again. Sneak out early. Wait in traffic. Get groceries. Chaperone kids. Shout about homework. Make dinner. Watch TV. Go to bed. Repeat.
Of course, there is no way this sounds familiar. Right? Maybe to our friends, but never to us. Not to worry…this is for them. (The friends.)
To help those “friends” who are stuck in a life rut, motivational guru Shawn Anderson shares three quick rut-escaping tips you can provide to those who need emergency advice and are living the same day over…and over…and over:
TIP #1: Quit living in Mediocreland.
Stuck on mediocrity? Well, look in the mirror at the person responsible. It’s you. You created your average-ness…and you can un-create it, too. Want out of the rut? Quit making excuses, quit pointing fingers, and quit waiting for a miracle to fly you out of Mediocreland. If you’re ever going to leave the world of average, you need to start creating the changes you seek. Cast a vision. Create a plan. Take massive action. Passive residents are not allowed to fly.
TIP #2: Don’t expect an overnight miracle.
It’s impossible to go from “ice cold” (in the rut) to “red hot” (out of the rut) overnight. Massive change just doesn’t happen that way. Don’t expect it. Do expect, though, that you can grow to “red hot” if you hold yourself accountable to take one step a day towards the changes you want in your life. Single steps daily add up to big changes eventually.
TIP #3: Don’t wait for perfect.
Waiting for the perfect scenario to unfold before making changes? Your reasons to wait before taking action might sound good in your head now. The problem is that five years down the road those same reasons will probably still exist…and you’ll probably still be in a rut.
Life is too short to wait for the stars to fall into perfect alignment before we take life action. Live and live now. Otherwise, waiting too long for the right risk-taking moment eventually leads to paralyzing fear…which leads to complacency…which leads to “I don’t care” acceptance.
The author of six motivational books, including A Better Life: An Inspiring Story About Starting Over and Extra Mile America: Stories of Inspiration, Possibility and Purpose, Shawn Anderson lives and breathes all things related to “going the extra mile” in order to live a life we love. Last year, Anderson’s Extra Mile America organization led 444 cities to declare 11/1/13 as “Extra Mile Day”… a day recognizing the capacity we each have to create positive change for ourselves, families, organizations and communities when we go the extra mile.
“My feeling is ‘we get one life’ so why ever choose to live it with anything less than our deepest passion and most ardent dedication? We create the life we live…one way or another,” Anderson says.
Shawn Anderson is a six-time author, keynote speaker and motivational success coach. His book titles include A Better Life: An Inspiring Story About Starting Over and Extra Mile America: Stories of Inspiration, Possibility and Purpose. For more information, visit www.ShawnAnderson.com.